No longer about conservation

Editor, The News:

Re: Young bear killed in Maple Ridge Park (The News, June 17).

On June 15, I made the unfortunate decision  to spend my morning enjoying the fresh air and the sounds of the river and have a nice stretch at the Maple Ridge water park.

Unfortunately, I was greeted by two and soon after three RCMP officers holding their high-powered rifles aimed into the tree tops. They had treed a bear that had become nothing more than a “nuisance.”

I witnessed the terrified bear clinging to the slim branches near the tree tops and knew it only had minutes to live.

Sickened by it all, my normal leisurely walk through the park was a very quick stop of disgust.

The article published in the local paper claims the bear was injured and 40 complaints were received about it.

The Maple Ridge water park is surrounded by wilderness and a fish bearing river. Yes, bears frequent this area.

Sadly for this bear, it was not welcome in its own home.

The cost of moving a bear or even the option of assessing the injuries to the bear would cost money; the cost of killing it, pennies.

What had this bear done to deserve such a fate other than having citizens report its presence?

Murders, rapists, and others walk among us, and when captured they receive food, water, housing, education.

This killing must stop, or perhaps we should start killing criminals who commit horrible crimes and are safe and secure in solitary confinement to ensure no one harms them. Clifford Olson jumps to my mind; his housing costs are over $3 million and climbing.

Since 1990, North America had 26 human deaths due to encounters with black bears (Wikipedia).

Yet two people die every hour in North America from drunk drivers.

Perhaps in the few minutes it has taken me to write this letter, someone has been killed by a drunk driver.

Speeding drivers kill 200 people every year in B.C., alone.

I am sickened at the ease in which our wonderful black bears continue to be butchered in our municipality.

I have lived in Maple Ridge for seven years and time and time again I have witnessed bears being killed with such senseless abandon.

I moved to Maple Ridge to enjoy the wildlife and, as a hiker, constantly encounter bears. I even once startled a mother bear with her two cubs; she made no aggressive gesture towards me. I have no doubt her and her cubs have been shot for their actions – living in our spreading community as hers continues to shrink.

It seems conservation no longer reflects the definition of the word: the prevention of injury, decay, waste, or loss; the careful use/management of a natural resource to prevent its depletion.

Why have things gone so terribly wrong?

M. Priest

Maple Ridge